Letter: Former Isles owner told them so

Fans watch the New York Islanders lose to Fans watch the New York Islanders lose to the Philadelphia Flyers at a Sunday matinee game at the Nassau Coliseum. (Dec. 5, 2010) Photo Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

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As a Long Island resident for decades, season ticket holder, and former co-chairman and co-chief executive of the New York Islanders (1992-1997), I am saddened but not surprised by the announcement that the four-time Stanley Cup Champions are moving to Brooklyn.

All Long Islanders will suffer from this decision, and it is most probable that Long Island will never have a major professional sports team again. This decision just adds to the sports graveyard on Long Island containing the memories of the Nets, the Jets and Roosevelt Raceway.

This unfortunate decision by Islanders owner Charles Wang could have been different if he and local and state government officials recognized the economic and social importance of keeping the team on the Island. Most of the blame has to go to government for its failure over the past 20 years in avoiding its responsibility to the residents of Nassau County.

I raised with local government almost 20 years ago the urgent need to create a major entertainment complex to host sports, concerts and the circus, as well as business uses such as expositions and conventions. However, three successive county executives could not lead government and the private sector to a successful resolution.

Wang's patience ran out, and one can't blame him after suffering losses for many years. Perhaps his initial project was too grandiose and didn't fit in Nassau County. But the breakdown from there is inexcusable. The state also should have weighed in with some help, as this just cripples economic development.

Robert D. Rosenthal, Jericho

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